Reservations apparently are still available for this nifty fund-raiser for the Bay Area Ridge Trail for 45 miles over five days from Castro Valley to Martinez — somebody else will haul all your camping gear and food. It’s $225 (or $50 per day), but it’s a fundraiser for a good cause.
Of course there’s a catch: it’s from August 27 to September 1 — not exactly the coolest time o’ year to hiking up and down those hills, I suspect.
See, usually this is a five-day trail ride/fundraiser organized by the Tilden Wildcat and Metropolitan Horseman’s Associations. I see their point: the campgrounds will be empty anyway that time of year and besides, anybody mucking about in the East Bay wilds at the end of August is bound to be thinking, like the Bard of Avon: My kingdom for a horse. (Hikers sharing the same trails are more apt to be thinking: “My kingdom for horse diapers“).
The equestrians generously invited hikers along this year, the 20th anniversary of the Ridge Trail. Deadline to sign up is July 15 — only 75 will be allowed to come along, with preference to those who sign up for five days.
When all’s said and done you tell all your friends, “hey, I’m a through-hiker!” (Their reply: “so that’s what that smell is.”)